“You’re stepping on my shadow, please back off,” she said.

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

Recent Posts

GLLI (24) - One Child: The Story of China's Most Radical Social Experiment - by Mei Fong

By Helen Wang, February 24, '17

In October 2015 the Chinese government announced major changes to their population policy, commonly known as the One Child policy. Instead of curbs that limited one-third of Chinese households to strictly one child, Chinese families across the nation could have two children starting from 1 Jan 2016. With incredible timing, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Mei Fong's book One Child was at the publishers! I was invited to review it for the Los Angeles Review of Books and found Mei Fong's book very readable - there was a perfect balance of detailed research and stories of individual people in real circumstances. I particularly appreciated Mei Fong's skilful vignettes - for example, the couple in Wenchuan, who, within days of losing their teenage daughter in the devastating earthquake, decide to try for another child. The odds are stacked against them (age, vasectomy, cost, friends and family avoiding them for fear of being asked for money or support) and you wonder if they are grasping desperately at straws. Yet Mei Fong slips their shoes on to your feet so softly that you find yourself wondering how you would respond in their situation.

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GLLI (23) - The Ventriloquist’s Daughter: Between Fantasy and Reality – by Lin Man-chiu

By Helen Wang, February 23, '17

Spring 2017 will see the publication of The Ventriloquist’s Daughter, by Lin Man-chiu (tr. Helen Wang), the fourth Young Adult novel translated from Chinese and published by Balestier Press. Originally from Taiwan, Lin Man-chiu has travelled extensively in South America, and her experiences there inspired this story. The following piece is adapted from the Author’s Preface in the Chinese edition, and we’re delighted to have permission to publish it here.

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GLLI (21) - Translations in the British Library - by Frances Wood

By Helen Wang, February 21, '17

Frances Wood is the author of several books, including most recently Betrayed Ally: China in the Great War (2016) and her new book Great Books of China: From Ancient Times to the Present (2017). Now retired, she was, for over thirty years, one of the key librarians and curators of the Chinese section of the British Library. We were delighted when Frances agreed to tell us what it was like to work there and how the UK’s national library went about collecting translations...

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GLLI (20) - Jia Pingwa as Global Literature - by Nick Stember

By Helen Wang, February 20, '17

Nick Stember is a historian and translator of Chinese comics and science fiction. In 2015 he completed a Master of Arts in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. His work has been featured in The International Journal of Comic Art, Clarkesworld Magazine, LEAP: The International Art Magazine of Contemporary China, and The China Story Yearbook. He is currently working closely with the Jia Pingwa Institute, in Xi’an, to bring more of Jia’s work into English.

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GLLI (19) - Creating a dynamic new centre for Chinese literature in translation - by Frances Weightman

By Helen Wang, February 19, '17

In the UK, most literary and translation events take place in London. A few years ago, Frances Weightman and Sarah Dodd, at the University of Leeds, set out to establish Leeds as the centre for new Chinese writing in "the North". Leeds is a city about halfway between London and Scotland (the train from London takes just over two hours). Their idea was to open up the world of contemporary Chinese writing and to engage with everyone involved in the process of transforming a great work conceived in Chinese to a great work read in English! They called the project Writing Chinese. It's been so successful, they've just received funding to develop it further! We invited Frances to tell us the story so far...

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GLLI (18) - Chinese Literature Prizes - by Chen Dongmei

By Eric Abrahamsen, February 18, '17

China's domestic literary prizes are often viewed with uncertainty from abroad: Who runs them? Are they trustworthy? How are the different prizes specialized? Which should we be paying attention to? We've asked Chen Dongmei, who usually exerts her influence behind the scenes, to step forward and give us a rundown of prizes for adult and children's literature, to try to shed some light on these questions.

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GLLI (17) - Ethnic-themed Literature out of China - by Bruce Humes

By Helen Wang, February 17, '17

The People's Republic of China has a population of over 1.38 billion. About 90% of the population is ethnically Han-Chinese, which means that about 10% of the population belong to ethnic minorities. That's over 138 million people! We invited Bruce Humes to tell us more about these people and their literature. This post is in two parts: the first part is a wonderful introduction to writing by and about non-Han peoples; and the second part introduces Chi Zijian's novel The Last Quarter of the Moon, translated by Bruce.

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GLLI (16) - Reincarnations: Chinese novels translated into English and into film

By Nicky Harman, February 16, '17

Many libraries stock both books and films – a good film can encourage people to read the book, and vice versa, and it can be very interesting to compare a book with its film, to identify the changes and to understand the reasons behind them. For this blog, I have selected five Chinese novels or novellas available in English translation, that have been turned into films for international audiences. The films are of books by Geling YAN, ZHANG Ling and JIA Pingwa, and I have been lucky enough to translate one book by each of them.

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